March content calendar: ideas for social media and PR

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month

  • National Nutrition Month

  • National Peanut Month

  • National Craft Month

  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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Yield better results on Instagram with a little curation and cohesiveness

Instagram curation

We all want to create those beautiful Instagram pages that bring in new followers that turn into clients and customers. We know the pages I’m talking about — the ones that have all the pictures that are so beautiful, edited well and content that is well-curated.

Mav Social recently published an article on creating a feed on Instagram that matches your brand and looks cohesive. Their helpful articles explains that while “your photos look brilliant when viewed individually, they could be a jumbled mess when seen together,” which is one reason to create a beautiful feed. Nobody wants their first impression to be a messy one. Brand recognition will also help people remember you! If you have a beautiful page, people won’t have to even look at your handle to know it’s your content, automatically knowing in their mind that this picture belongs to you!

@FACTEURPR

@FACTEURPR

How do these brands do it?

Well, I wanted to share some insider tips! This blog post was inspired by FACTEUR's own Instagram feed. I am amazed by how well Reena, the founder of FACTEUR, puts together each Instagram post to tie so well into the rest. She makes sure the colors are cohesive and that everything is on-brand and is recognizable for our audience.

Knowing your audience is super important when launching a brand as well as when marketing one. I run a personal blog, and I can definitely attest to this. I run an Instagram page as well, and I know that my audience would be thrown off if I all of the sudden started posting a black and white photo when the rest of my pictures are very colorful and highly saturated. I know my audience enjoys and expects bright colors and through researching other Instagram influencers they follow, they engage with similar pages.

While it may sound boring to post content that all matches, it actually becomes very appealing to the eye of the follower.

In the Mav Social article I mentioned earlier, they shared this photo as an example from Fossil’s Instagram feed. It shows that they choose consistent colors to focus on, but so followers don’t get bored, they switch up the hue every nine photos.

@FOSSIL

@FOSSIL


While the content may not be exactly the same in each individual photo, overall it still looks cohesive and their photos are always of high quality.

A new website that I recently learned about and saw that was given also as an example in this article is  the blog on Design-seeds.com. This blog offers  a great way to figure out a color palette for your brand/company. Here are some examples of the ways they help inspire you:

@INSOMNIA

@INSOMNIA

 

As you can see in this photo that @In_somnia_ used on their Instagram, they were able to pull out these beautiful six colors. Out of these six colors, they could decide to continue using a few of them in their upcoming Instagram pictures!

Imagine if this picture was randomly thrown into one of the color schemes from Fossil. It would look out of place and if a follower was looking at the Instagram page, some followers may be turned off by how out of place the picture looks and leave, meaning you would lose out on a new follower, sale or future customer.

A sense of unity, even on your Instagram feed, makes your audience feel part of your brand.

Visual Psychology

Streamlining the look and feel isn't about deceiving your audience. In fact, with so much noise on social media, it's helpful to post things that are only relevant (and save the fun, on the fly stuff for your Stories!). Photos can create an emotional response to your audience, so make sure you are helping to create the right ones!


Apps to help you edit your pictures

There are so many options out there today for you! Choosing the right one for you may take a couple of tries!

My top three suggestions for apps to help you edit your pictures:

  1. VSCO: great for creating each picture with the same filter

  2. Lightroom: awesome for editing details/specific colors in pictures

  3. A Color Story: fun and creative filters as well as editing functions like Structure, Curves, and more

Now, don't forget that photos aren't the only thing you need to developing an engaging Instagram presence. Once you create eye-catching and on-brand visuals, you need relevant and powerful captions, as well! 

Need help on ideas of what to post? Check out FACTEUR's Instant Resources section and get your hands on some content calendar worksheets for a year's worth of ideas to get you inspired and started! 


Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations.

Social media and content ideas for the month of March

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month

  • National Nutrition Month

  • National Peanut Month

  • National Craft Month

  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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Digital content and story ideas for the month of March

Who can believe it's March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Craft Month
  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 12: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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Establish your brand: build a good website to make a good impression on your customers

Nobody can ignore the importance of social media and the influence it can have over your audience and potential audiences when you’re running a brand or business. However, the recurrent saying of “the web is dead” when it comes to the significance of having a website is not only shortsighted but potentially detrimental. I like to consider social media to be like the front door to your digital home, your website. Social media is often the first impression, so make it feel open and welcoming. And once people are inside, that’s when you can show off your fantastic hosting skills in your home that is well decorated and reflective of your business and vision. 

I could make flowery analogies all day, though, so let’s get to some actual reasons why your brand needs a professional website and URL (no dot wordpresses, please)!

1.) For those actively seeking out your business or ones like it online, a website is likely their first point of entry.

Search is critically important for most businesses. Your website appearing in search results will be of the utmost importance when it comes to clients or customers finding you. Building and launching your site and making sure to consistently update it using keywords and appropriate metadata (I know, this is a lot of SEO speak) will be worthwhile in helping people find you. You can also chip in a few dollars with Google AdWords to help with your search result ranking, too.

2.) And speaking of first impressions, a good website is a prime opportunity to make a great one. 

Therefore, make sure you spend the time and resources to be sure that your website accurately reflects your business mission and vision through its design and content, which help your consumers build trust. With content you own, like your website and the stories and imagery that appears on it, you have some control over that first impression. If you have a physical business location, you probably spent some energy and resources on making it look and feel good for you and for your consumers. With the possibility of reaching and influencing infinitely more people online than through your doors, it’s imperative to make your online experience feel good for you and your consumers, too. It may be the one impression they get. Make it a good one (and mobile-friendly!).

3.) Your website is yours: own it!

We’ve talked about the importance of e-mail marketing, mainly because you can “own” the e-mail subscriber list. With social media, everyone is just renting space. In addition to owning email, pointing your subscribers to your website, and offering educational and inspirational content on your website, you control what your audience sees and reads. You can’t quite do that with social media. Our Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter feeds are a battle for attention, and as such, increasingly becoming a pay-to-play space. 

4.) Websites can always be open for business.

Unlike a physical business, your website is always open. So why not use it to sell 24/7? Whether it’s products or services, your website is sacred sales ground. Make sure your contact information is easily accessible, your inventory is accurate, your sales copy is on-point, and your information is up-to-date. Frequent updates helps with SEO, too. 

5.) Get to know your audience: your visitors, consumers, and clients

How often do you check your Google Analytics? Do you have Google Analytics? If not, I can’t stress the importance enough of installing and reviewing your analytics on at least a weekly basis. You can dig into how people are finding your website, what pages they are most visiting, how much time they are spending on your site, where they’re coming from, what other interests appeal to them, and so much more. It’s an inside-look into your audience behaviors and interests that can help drive your social media strategy, content marketing plan, direct-mail strategy, and more. And if you’re selling or intending to sell advertising on your website if you’re a blogger, that data is a must-include for your media kit. 

We truly believe and have found in our work and our client's work that building and maintaining a website is so important when marketing and growing your brand or business. We hope this information is helpful! Sign up for our monthly email below to get more tips and ideas delivered straight to your inbox. And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss how FACTEUR can help you and your business with creating a beautiful, informational, and easily maintainable website. We'd love to work with you.

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Photo courtesy of BluChic.

Word of mouse: grow your brand or business with content marketing

Content marketing, or inbound marketing as it's also frequently called, seems to be all the rage lately, but the concept is nothing new. In this blog post, we'll cover what exactly content marketing is, and why it can help you grow your brand or business. Especially if your target audience includes millennials, having a content marketing strategy is worth the consideration.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating and and sharing content to attract, engage with, and retain an audience, ultimately driving sales or an end goal you want your audience to take. Content is often described as videos, photos, blog posts, e-books, captions, infographics, etc. shared online, whether it be through your owned platforms (e-mail, website, blog) or shared ones (social media, influencer networks, media outlets).

This may sound new, but it's not. For anyone who has studied or practiced any form of journalism or media, storytelling is a concept as old as time, but the times are changing. In the past, brands, businesses, institutions, and corporations had to rely on traditional media outlets to tell their story, but with the rise of social media came the decline of traditional media. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, about 40% of all Americans now get their news online.

If your target audience is in the age range of 18-49, roughly 50% of them are getting their information online. What does that mean for your brand or business? It means you cannot ignore the internet when reaching and retaining your current and potential consumers. In fact, brand-consumer engagement online has become increasingly expected. A recent NewsCred study found that 27% of consumers say low-quality/infrequently published content would lead them to believe that a brand is out of touch or not up to date with customer habits. 

From that research, we can take away this generalization: nearly a third of consumers are expecting high-quality, frequently published content from brands. 

Content builds loyalty

62% of the millennial consumers felt that online content drives their loyalty to a brand.
— NewsCred

Another recent study by NewsCred found content marketing to be one of the most effective tactics for fostering trust and loyalty among millennial consumers. According to the study, 62% of the people surveyed felt that online content drives their loyalty to a brand. The only factors more important for fostering loyalty were product quality and brand recognition, and even so, content marketing can help with the latter! 

What the study also found is it's not necessarily the quantity of content but the quality of content being created that most attracts and retains an audience. Quality content is related to a quality product, and quality content gets noticed and shared more -- both of which are of benefit to your brand in helping grow relationships with your consumers.

How to create quality content

I think the most important step to take in creating content of quality is finding your why. Your "why" is your beat. The good news is that if you are already running or part of a business, you already know your why, which is likely embedded into your vision or mission statement. (If you don't know your why, it's important to give it some thought.) Creating content really comes down to sharing the story of your why in ways that benefit or educates an audience so they see the value of that content and want more of it. 

When it comes to creating content, your ‘why’ is your beat.

The medium of how you share that content should be up to you. While research shows that video is the increasingly becoming the most viewed content type online (YouTube is the second most visited website in the world!), not everyone has the time or the budget to produce quality video content. Different types of content is ideal, but start with one, like a blog, that feels most natural and easy to maintain. (The great thing about sharing different types of content is you or your marketer can analyze which types perform best.) 

If you're reading this and thinking, "that sounds great, but I don't have time to commit to creating and sharing content," I completely understand. In fact, we often hear that even from companies with marketing teams. Even when content creation and sharing has been part of my full-time job descriptions, there still never feels like enough time to be able to do it all -- but you don't have to if you plan appropriately. What I've learned that has been a game changer for me along the way is developing an editorial content calendar. Just as you would plan your product launches, meetings, sales goals, and more, planning out your content in advance is another strategy for reaching your business objectives. Make time to plan for it, or hire someone you trust who can assist you with the planning process (you can learn about FACTEUR's content marketing services here). Planning can help you with brainstorming content ideas for your "why" and align you brand with bigger opportunities, as well as save you time in the long-run since you can often re-use and re-post that content.

But maybe you're excited to create the content and want to get started right away; you just need some ideas on content to create. We spent some time this spring developing four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & stage, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). 

If you don't see a content calendar specific to your industry, let us know in the comments if you'd like to see one for your industry as we're currently planning on developing our next set of calendars we'll be releasing. If you're looking for a content marketing strategy specific to your business or brand, we can help with that, too.

We truly believe and research indicates (as noted above) that content creation and marketing are definitely worthy of consideration when growing your brand or business online. We hope this information and our resources are helpful. Sign up for our monthly email below to get more tips and ideas delivered straight to your inbox. And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss how FACTEUR can help you and your business with content marketing, PR, social media, and digital creative services.

Happy creating!

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Get "expirational:" five ways to use Instagram Stories for your brand or business

(Photo: Instagram)

(Photo: Instagram)

Last week, Instagram rolled out its newest feature, Stories, a very Snapchat-inspired offering that allows users to upload quick videos and photos that disappear in 24 hours. It was a bold step for the social network, now opening its doors for more user generated content, not just beautiful user generated content. While Snapchat has had the upper-hand when it comes to reaching and engaging teenage audiences across the world, many ‘grammers are already seeing the Stories feature as a way to deliver content to their Instagram following without having to worry about building an audience on another platform like Snapchat. If Instagram's parent company, Facebook, didn’t feel like it was taking over the world before, it certainly feels more like it now. 

Brooklyn jewelry brand, Catbird, is using Instagram Stories to share a look at products coming soon. (Photo: @Catbird)

Brooklyn jewelry brand, Catbird, is using Instagram Stories to share a look at products coming soon. (Photo: @Catbird)

Recently, too, Instagram also unveiled its new business profile feature: a way for user accounts to transition into a business-minded account that offers analytics, easy-to-access contact information for its followers, and promotional and paid opportunities to reach new audiences. 

Hand-in-hand, these latest Insta-velopments are likely going to be a big boost for brands and businesses, a market that the social network is increasingly trying to monetize from. 

Here are five ways you can start using Instagram Stories for your brand or business. 

1.) Introduce you and your team.

Go beyond the bio and headshot on your website. Introduce a member of your team with a quick series of videos that shares some insights on that person: their name, what they do at work, their hobbies outside of work, projects they are working on, etc. It’s both authentic and transparent, and your followers will appreciate getting you to know a little more. (Disclaimer: This doesn’t replace the a bio and headshot on your website. You still need some kind of visual and story on your website!)

2.) Share a behind-the-scenes look at a product or launch.

This is not only beneficial to your audiences in offering them a sneak peek of what you’re producing, but an important learning opportunity for you and your brand, as well. Want to know if the public will respond more enthusiastically to your new mint green shade of custom planters or the orange ones? Ask them! 

3.) Schedule live Q&A sessions.

On the flip-side, schedule time for your audiences to tune in and ask you questions. Through the direct messaging features on Stories, Instagrammers can send in questions and comments, and you can respond via video. Can't make time to dedicate to a live Q&A? Post a photo on Instagram asking for questions, and let folks know to check their Stories feed at a certain time to see the answers.

4.) Offer special incentives like coupons and discounts

Like Snapchat, the great thing about Stories is that engaging with content suddenly becomes an urgent matter. How can you use that urgency to get your audiences to take action, or make your content “expirational,” as I like to call it (That’s expiration + inspirational!) You could post a photo of a coupon with a code, announce a contest, and more. Either the offer could be good for only that 24 hour period, or folks can screen shot to present it at your business during a limited time period if you have a physical business location.

5.) Partner with influencers.

Just like with Instagram takeovers on your feed, why not offer an influencer, special customer, or blogger into your business or special event to take over your Stories feed? This is a great way to share a brand perspective other than your own and highlight different voices. And best of all, if you’re very particular about the overall aesthetic of your Instagram feed and profile, you won’t have to worry about breaking your cohesive look and feel with dozens of photos on your feed that may become too overwhelming for your followers anyways.

These are just a handful of the ways I see using the new Stories feature on Instagram to the advantage of just about any brand or business, and I hope you found them helpful! If you're interested in instant or committed support with your social media channels, definitely check out our Social Media services page, and sign up below for the FACTEUR e-newsletter for more tips and tricks!

(Photo: Mallory + Justin)